A skirt with more than 32 metres (32 yards) of organza fabric pooled around Princess Margaret on her wedding day. While the younger sister of HM Queen Elizabeth II set a trend for simple yet voluminous gowns in 1960, organza remains a popular formal fabric. Dressmakers use organza both as an interfacing and as a veil and skirt material for gowns.
The name "organza" refers to a weave rather than the exact textile content. Originally made from silk, textile mills also produce rayon, nylon and polyester organza. Do not confuse organza with silk gauze or cotton organdie. While both gauze and organza share slight transparency, silk gauze does not hold its shape. Cotton organdie shares a similar twisted yarn weave, but has an opaque appearance.
The sturdy, stiff property of organza comes from a tight weave of twisted fibres. Organza linings give shape to three-dimensional sleeves and provide loft for layered skirts without weighing down the garment. Line skirts with organza to eliminate the need for heavy crinolines in the summer. Bustles and bows retain their shape when made out of organza.
Organza withstands the heat of an iron or clothes dryer, so it is possible to iron blouses with organza linings. Sandra Betzina, author of "More Fabric Savvy," cautions against pre-washing organza "unless you want to change the hand of the fabric." The sheen of the fabric tends to disappears with washing; dry clean a finished dress instead.